Thursday, May 27, 2010

Abbott morphs back into Howard & finally reveals his true colours on asylum seekers

It has been obvious to anyone that takes any notice of these matters that the Coalition lost its moral compass on the question of the human rights of refugees early in Howard's stewardship.

In a breathtaking leap back to the future Abbott and Morrison have announced today that TPVs and the Pacific Solution are to be dusted off. Forget about dog whistles, the loudhailer is out again, reminding us of Tampa and the fallout.

The Age reports "Mr Abbott said his party would find unnamed countries to process Australia-bound asylum seekers, as it did when under the dismantled Pacific Solution.

Asylum seekers were detained on Nauru and Manus Island.

As leader, Mr Turnbull upset moderates by announcing without consultation the Coalition would introduce temporary protection visas.

Both measures were described by Liberal MP Petro Georgiou as "cruel" and "regressive"."

It worked a treat for Howard. It will be interesting to see whether the body politic has matured somewhat since those depth plumbing times.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Asylum-seeker clamp breaches treaties: human rights violated by base politics

As preempted in this blog, Labor's recent toughening of its stance towards asylum seekers from Sri Lanka and Afghanistan breaches international treaties.

Michael Gordon, writing in the Age, reports

" THE federal government has breached three international treaties and may have broken its own domestic laws by suspending the processing of asylum seekers from Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, according to an opinion prepared by three Melbourne lawyers.

It says the dramatic toughening of border protection policy discriminates on the basis of race and country of origin, in contravention of Australia's international obligations.

Prepared for the Human Rights Law Resource Centre, the opinion will be sent today to community and advocacy groups that have expressed alarm at the policy.

At least one, the Refugee and Immigration Legal Centre, is considering a challenge to the legality of the suspensions after launching a High Court challenge to the government's off shore processing regime this month."

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Human rights in Australia - a warning for those attacking Labor - be careful what you wish for!

I sent the following message to GetUp today. I have been a staunch critic of Rudd's back downs on human rights issues, but I have no doubt that the alternative under Abbott would be much worse:

"Whilst I applaud most of what GetUp does I am now very concerned that the relentless attack on Labor from the left and the right will realize an Abbott government. Believe me, if that happens the previous Howard regime will seem positively benign!

I agree that better ways need to be found to tackle criminality on the internet, but please temper your attack on this government’s credentials. The MSM have poured so much vitriol on Rudd that Abbott now looks like he could take office. I think Brett Solomon and Simon Sheik are articulate advocates for human rights, but an Abbott government will present such an avalanche of violations as to make this current campaign on the internet filter appear tokenistic.

As Abbott goes about the business of whipping up fear of asylum seekers, with his appalling bus, nasty rhetoric and his conga line of supporters in the MSM, the Rudd Government has desperately tried to avoid being wedged on the issue. The chest beating and hard lines that emerge from week to week indicate an abiding level of fear in the community of people arriving on these shores.

An irrational debate on population has arisen in the body politic, which threatens to turn decidedly partisan and ugly. In the absence of support for the Coalition's policy platform Abbott has taken the 'Tampa' option of cranking up the fear rhetoric; a confection of outrage towards, and threatened consequences for, desperate people who have made a dangerous voyage to escape persecution.

The 'population' posture being trotted out by Morrison and Abbott is back to the future of fear and smear; an egregious throwback to 'White Australia' thinking, much like Howard demonized Muslims to build populist support for his border control regime.

Bi-partisanship on such an important issue as immigration, population growth and cultural inclusiveness is impossible whilst a major political party sees populist opportunity in scaring people.

So we will not get a human rights charter any time soon, as the right paint this as a watering down of a government's right to do as it pleases, with nasty consequences for those caught on the wrong side of what political leaders decree makes a good Australian.

The population debate as framed by Abbott and his cohort is a rallying call for those in the community in thrall to notions of exclusivity, cultural entitlement and border protection. Faced with fairly ordinary polls, Abbott is doing what Howard and Turnbull did before him - press the 'alert and alarmed' buttons on boat people, cultural diversity and 'Australianess'. We have seen it all before - the 'reds under the beds' mantra of the 50s has been replaced with 'we will decide who comes to this country', and many credulous people fall for it, hook, line and sinker, as it feeds into their prejudices...

You are hammering Labor on its ETS back down; its asylum seeker policies; its internet filter - but you are letting Abbott off the hook! The wedges set up under the political dynamic in the Senate are electoral poison for Labor. With good intentions but political naivete, you are contributing to an MSM media construct of a government that is under-performing and lacking courage.

Howard took this country far to the right! Rudd has to tip toe through an electoral mine field of electors easily in thrall to hate mongering, which has become an acceptable political tool when you have little else to convince the electorate you are fit for government. It reminds me sometimes of an obscure party grabbing public attention in the beer halls of Munich in the 1920s. They banged a few fear drums too!

Whilst rightly criticizing Rudd’s back peddling on human rights issues, be aware that the alternative would be much worse! Australia would become a much uglier place under Abbott’s stewardship. His brand of socio-religious patriarchy would determine public policy parameters in such way as to make the previous 'brutupia' look positively benign.

Politics is not a zero sum game…."

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Debunking Myths About Refugees and Asylum Seekers, but the Coalition sails on ...

Click here to have the myths well and truly debunked. Great job guys!

It seems the 'Abbottomater' has received a boost in the latest Newspoll. I suspect this is an outlier or more News Limited propaganda. Crikey, anyone would think that Rupert does'nt like Kev with the amount of nasty vitriol hurled at him by the Murdoch MSM. Its a pity our political journos rarely rise to the occasion and think for themselves. It seems they don't appreciate Kev's seeming disdain for their profession, but is it any wonder, given the feckless and arrogant lot they mainly are. What a bunch of lemmings! Even the ABC crowd is in thrall to the nonsense peddled by Abbott's motley crew, whether the subject is climate change, refugees or the deficit. Some of the stuff dished up on ABC local radio makes my skin crawl.

As a group, the MSM political hacks are way too impressed with themselves. Many think they are the news, but, frankly, most would'nt have the nous to develop public policy. They thrive on sound bites, simple minded takes on serious matters, and scuttle about waiting for a politician to make a gaffe. Its very tedious and little wonder the average punter prefers the footy!